Minting Naira abroad: Is Nigeria reliable to print Gambian dalasi?

Recently The Gambia enlisted help from big brother Nigeria to be minting its currency, the dalasi, but just how dependable…

Recently The Gambia enlisted help from big brother Nigeria to be minting its currency, the dalasi, but just how dependable is the West African economic giant to pull this deal off?The Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia Buah Saidy requested for a possible partnership with his Nigerian counterpart to tackle acute currency shortages among other currency management challenges his country currently faces.

Gambia’s apex bank relies on its current printer, De La Rue of London, for its currency needs and this according to Saidy is prohibitively expensive and unsustainable in the long haul.

According to him, it costs his bank about £70,000 every time to lift printed currencies from Sri Lanka to The Gambia.

Many of Gambia’s banknotes are off questionable quality especially the relatively new D20, D10 denominations.

The currency challenges are so intractable that Gambian banks have not been shying away from issuing limp banknotes to their clients as they quickly run out of crisp new ones.

 New denominations introduced as recently as 2019 have already gone wrinkled beyond salvation thanks to overuse and misuse by a Gambian public hardly sensitized about how to handle banknotes especially of the precarious type now in circulation.

The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele vowed to help but some have spotted an inconvenient fact.

Despite the existence of a mint in Nigeria dating back to the 1960s, Africa’s most populous nation has been minting its own currency, the Naira abroad for decades.

Critical of this discrepancy, Nigerian economist Prof Lanre Olaniyan of the University of Ibadan the CBN should put its own house in order first before offering to help another country.

He said the capacity of the long neglected Nigeria Security Printing and Minting should be augmented with a view to printing the Naira at home before doing business with its West African neighbours.

“I am aware that we have been printing the Naira from outside…the proposal from The Gambia shows that we have the capacity to print our own currency independently and save some foreign exchange” he was quoted as saying by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

The economist said this will depend on whether Nigeria can pull off this currency minting deal with The Gambia as the curtain raiser for possibly more such business ventures ostensibly with other countries.

“If we are able to deliver well on that proposal, other countries will come with similar proposals. It is a win-win situation for Nigeria and it will encourage us to earn additional revenue” he said.

CBN Governor Emefiele has been sounding very confident and optimistic that Nigeria will come good on its promise to help The Gambia deal with its currency woes.

“And I can assure you that we can be extremely competitive if only from  the standpoint of logistics and freight from Europe but it’s just going  to be a few hours from here to the Gambia and the rest of them” he told his Gambian counterpart Saidy.

He said Liberian officials who visited Nigeria’s minting facilities in April were fascinated by them.

“We have a lot of idle capacity to ensure that instead of you going to  Europe or other countries, you will be able to benefit from our ideas” he said.

Will The Gambia take the bait?

There are critical voices on social media particularly from ordinary Gambians who do not trust Nigeria’s reputation for corruption.

Reacting to the news Mahmud Nyassi wrote: “Oh…where  in the world did the Gambia government See that.. A corrupt country like Nigeria printing our money… Some times i asked myself if we  really love Our country.”

Meanwhile a Maxwell Charles, Nigeria asked ”
Hope Nigerians won’t pay for the printing in the name of whatever?”



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